There was once a time, as recently as the 2016 presidential campaign, when the Federal Bureau of Investigation was thought to favor the Republican Party. During one episode, late in that campaign, it was alleged (per the Washington Times) that FBI agents were leaking information to the then-Trump surrogate, now Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani.
Two years into the Trump presidency, it’s fair to say, opinions of the FBI by Trump supporters may have shifted.
Appearing this week on Fox News’ Hannity, network legal and political analyst Gregg Jarrett called for the FBI to cease to exist in its current form.
Reacting to reports that the FBI launched a counterintelligence operation aimed at discerning whether President Trump is working on behalf of Russia, both Hannity and Jarrett alleged that the FBI is conspiring against the president.
“This is an all-powerful, out-of-control agency, rogue agency. And frankly, it’s time that it be halted in its tracks, reorganized, and replaced with a new organization that has legal restraints imposed upon it, and accountable to somebody, when the boss of the FBI, Rod Rosenstein, is in bed with his subordinates, inventing a counterintelligence case against the president, with no probable cause, no reasonable suspicion, no credible evidence. It’s time that the FBI be halted.”
Rod Rosenstein, a Trump appointee, is the deputy attorney general, but he is not the “boss of the FBI.” The current FBI director is Christopher Wray, also appointed by Trump. Rosenstein had authority over the Robert Mueller investigation due to the recusal of former Attorney General Jeff Sessions, but that expired when Sessions resigned and was replaced by acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker. William Barr has been nominated as attorney general and his confirmation hearings began Tuesday.
It’s unclear what steps would need to be taken to “halt” the FBI, or if such steps would be legal.
The New York Times reported last week that after Trump fired James Comey as FBI director in 2017, “law enforcement officials became so concerned by the president’s behavior that they began investigating whether he had been working on behalf of Russia against American interests.” It’s not clear what direction that probe took, but the criminal investigations of the Russia matter were ultimately folded into the Mueller probe when it launched soon after Comey’s firing.
Jarrett, a longtime Fox News analyst, is the author of The Russia Hoax: The Illicit Scheme to Clear Hillary Clinton and Frame Donald Trump, a book which alleges that the Obama administration and FBI conspired together to defeat Trump in the 2016 election and to subvert Trump’s presidency with bogus charges once he won.